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Q.
I dislike several of my co-workers. How do I motivate myself to work with them?

A.
Unpleasant people are a fact of life, but they're often ignorable outside work. Inside the office, however, it can be challenging, even impossible, to avoid them, which is why I suggest a three-step approach.

First, try to keep your aversion to yourself. Avoid the understandable temptation to grumble about so-and-so to your other, perhaps more simpatico, co-workers. Resist the urge to bad-mouth them because it usually does much to create a negative impression of you and does little to diminish your other workmates' disagreeable natures.

Second, consider whether you might actually be part of the problem. Ask yourself what it is that you don't like about your co-workers. Is there something specific that sets you off – such as their questionable jokes, work habits, or cliquishness?

Last, manage your reactions. When someone acts in an aggravating manner, ignore it as much as you can and focus instead on how you respond to it. You can't control your co-workers' actions or change their personalities, but you can control your reactions to those things – which makes it possible to minimize the negative feelings that can otherwise consume you.

Don't expect things to change overnight. But once you identify your triggers and learn how to respond to them, you'll be able to take your colleagues in stride and learn, if not to like them, at least to live with them. E



Dan Lumpkin, organizational psychologist, is the president of management-consulting company Lumpkin & Associates in Fairhope, AL. Need answers? Email your career-related questions to askdan@exhibitormagazine.com.
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